Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil resigns as Congress MLA, set to join BJP
Besides Vikhe-Patil, three other Congress MLAs -- Abdul Sattar (Sillod in Aurangabad ); Jaykumar Gore (Maan in Satara); and Bharat Bhalke (Pandharpur in Solapur) may join the BJP in next few days.Updated: Jun 05, 2019 02:56 IST
Former opposition leader of the legislative assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, submitted his resignation as a member of the legislative assembly (MLA) to the speaker of the state assembly on Tuesday.
Vikhe-Patil, who is joining the BJP, also resigned as a primary member of the Congress party.
Besides Vikhe-Patil, three other Congress MLAs -- Abdul Sattar (Sillod in Aurangabad ); Jaykumar Gore (Maan in Satara); and Bharat Bhalke (Pandharpur in Solapur) may join the BJP in next few days.
The trio had a meeting with Vikhe-Patil on Monday. Sattar accompanied him as he submitted his resignation to Speaker.
Vikhe-Patil quit as Leader of the Opposition in March after his son Sujay joined the BJP and contested Lok Sabha elections from Ahmednagar constituency. He may join the Fadnavis cabinet in next few days. This will be the second time he has quit the Congress. Earlier, Radhakrishna and his father Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil had joined the Shiv Sena after the Sena-BJP alliance came to power in Maharashtra in 1995. Then Balsaheb was made a minister in the NDA government at the Centre and Radhakrishna got a ministerial berth in the state government. However, after the Sena-BJP lost power in 1999, the father-son duo returned to the Congress. Subsequently, Radhakrishna was made a minister in successive governments. After Congress lost power in the state, he was made Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.
“I was suffocated in the party. I am not against joining the BJP but the decision will be taken at the right time. I do not know about the cabinet berth as my induction in the party is not conditional,” he said.
Meanwhile, one of the legislators who want to defect to the BJP, said they wanted an assurance from the ruling party that they would be fielded as its candidate in the assembly elections. Besides three MLAs who met Vikhe-Patil on Tuesday, two other Congress legislators of the party from Vidarbha--Gopaldas Agarwal and Sunil Kedar also called him on.
“We want firm assurance from the BJP over party tickets. In most of our cases, the constituencies are with Shiv Sena in the seat-distribution between the two parties. We want CM Fadnavis to sort it out,”said the legislator who did not wish to be named. Except Sillod, other four and even Shirdi constituency held by Vikhe Patil are with Shiv Sena.
“The legislators met me but the decision about joining the BJP has to be taken by themselves,” said Vikhe Patil.
Gopaldas Agarwal said, “I met Vikhe Patil as we share good relationship and he was my leader in the Assembly. As on today I am in Congress.” Kedar refused to comment on the developments. Maharashtra Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “The leaders whom party has given everything in their political careers are quitting party and boasting to damage it. It is an unfortunate move and indicates their mindset. We are sure it would not affect the party and we will perform well in Assembly constituency. We wish best luck to the leaders defecting party.”
Nationalist Congress Party has criticised Vikhe Patil calling him power hungry. “He cannot live without power and it was proved in 1990s when his father Balasaheb Vikhe Patil was made a minister in NDA government. Vikhe Patils returned to Congress after change in the government in 1999,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.
Meanwhile, BJP’s local leaders from Sillod have strongly opposed the induction of Abdul Sattar. The local party workers held a meeting and unanimously decided to convey the sentiments to the party leadership. Sattar said that he was joining BJP in next few days.
He was suspended from Congress after he supported Harshavardhan Jadhav,